US SaaS multiples blast previous high out of the water

Welcome to the latest edition of the Silverpeak Benchmark report – Application Software, a review of key company valuation metrics in the US, UK and European application software sectors. By reviewing sector median averages, our aim is to provide a set of software industry benchmarks against which individual company performance can be measured.

Report highlights

  • US SaaS median revenue multiples have continued to rise, surpassing their previous quarter end, 8.2x, by 7%; whilst also reaching an all time high of 9.4x during the quarter
  • UK Small & Mid median revenue multiples were recovering, closing 6.7% higher than the previous quarter; however, they are still 10% lower than the same quarter last year (3.9x)
  • European companies continue to have the lowest valuations, with no sign of this trend changing any time soon

Silverpeak Benchmark Report Q2_2019_Final

Autonomy software client Oxbotica raises an additional investment round

Silverpeak’s universal autonomy software client Oxbotica has raised an additional significant undisclosed investment round from existing investors IP Group plc, Parkwalk Advisors and AXA XL.

We also advised Oxbotica on their successful £14m funding in their first institutional investment round in 2018. The additional investment coincides with the appointment of Ozgur Tohumcu as CEO joining from Tantalum and previously Ericsson, who will lead the business on its next chapter of development.

Oxbotica, whose mantra is “any vehicle, any environment, any time” customers include: driverless shuttle trials at Gatwick airport; driverless cargo pods at Heathrow airport; partnering with Addison Lee to bring self-driving taxis to London; and other sectors in every hemisphere.

Paddy MccGwire, Managing Partner at Silverpeak said, “ This is our sixth transaction announced in eight weeks. It is great to see this iconic British HQ deep technology global business demonstrating the confidence of its investors so quickly. And I’d like to congratulate Co-Founder CTO Paul Newman, who also is the Director of the Oxford Robotics Institute, on being awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal.

Winners announced at Silverpeak sponsored Enterprise Awards

Silverpeak were delighted to attend the 9th WCIT Enterprise Awards dinner last night to celebrate some of the most successful technology entrepreneurs in the UK & Ireland

Congratulations to all the winners.

Young Entrepreneur – Jack Tang – URBAN

Female Entrepreneur – Pamela Cook – INFOSHARE

Social Enterprise Entrepreneur – Alex Stephany – BEAM

Start Up Award – Niall Barton – WRISK

Public Sector Award – Jonathon Desmond, Max Smith and Michael Van De Weg – IMMJ

Deep Tech Award – Ricky Thomas – AVORA

Emerging Business Award – Priya Lakhani – CENTURY TECH

Developing Business Award – Peter Baumann – ACTIVE NAVIGATION and Emma Bowkett – CONVERTR

Scale Up Entrepreneur Award – Vishal Marria – QUANTEXA

Enterprise Award – Mark Richer – STARLEAF

Entrepreneurial Team of the Year – Neal Gandhi and Oliver Rigby – THE PANOPLY

Judges Award – Simon Hay – FIREFLY LEARNING and Bernhard Niesner – BUSUU

Mentor of Year – Stephen Kelly

Listed Company of the Year Award – Alastair Bathgate – BLUE PRISM

Silverpeak advises Thoughtonomy on agreed acquisition by Blue Prism (AIM:PRSM)

Leading the market in delivering intelligent automation capabilities from the cloud, Blue Prism, today announced its agreement to acquire Thoughtonomy for up to £80m. The acquisition will see Blue Prism’s connected-RPA platform distributed and supported as a turnkey SaaS offering, helping accelerate the deployment of digital workers across market verticals and into mid-tier enterprises worldwide. Silverpeak acted as exclusive Lead Adviser to Thoughtonomy.

Thoughtonomy’s secure, award-winning enterprise grade SaaS solution, leveraging Microsoft Azure, enables an on-demand Virtual Workforce and full Intelligent Automation platform. This acquisition joins the power of Blue Prism’s connected-RPA platform with Thoughtonomy’s software, allowing customers to quickly and more easily drive improved productivity and customer experiences, without needing to set up a dedicated infrastructure to support their program.

It gives enterprises a way to access and leverage embedded and fully integrated AI technologies such as computer vision, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning to address a complete range of use cases from back office to front office. Additional features, including ready-to-use channel interfaces such as chatbots and web-forms coupled with Thoughtonomy’s integrated AI-enabled digital workforce manager, IADA®, helps companies scale their automation strategy at speed.

“The acquisition of Thoughtonomy will support a broader strategy to strengthen our portfolio with cloud offerings that deliver value and enhance customer experience,” says Alastair Bathgate, Co-founder and CEO, Blue Prism. “Thoughtonomy brings valuable knowledge and experience in the development and implementation of cloud-based intelligent digital workers, with a successful track record of delivering its solutions to mid-tier enterprises in a number of industry verticals complementary to the areas of the market Blue Prism has served.”

Thoughtonomy’s intellectual property and embedded Marketplace will also extend Blue Prism’s Digital Exchange DX capabilities – an intelligent automation marketplace comprising customers, technology and channel partners – while enhancing the company’s overall push to deliver RPA services with leading cloud services providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google and IBM.

“We’ve been working with Blue Prism since our foundation in 2013, and we’ve built out our unique SaaS and intelligent automation capabilities to leverage their best in class RPA software,” says Terry Walby, CEO & Founder of Thoughtonomy. “Together as leaders, we plan to broaden and simplify access to the most advanced digital workforce capabilities on the planet.”

This combination of capabilities will provide enterprises with even greater flexibility for their automation projects offering them the ability to choose between SaaS or dedicated infrastructure. Together both companies will continue to build out the strongest partner network in the industry aimed at driving up customer adoption in key market verticals including financial services, telecoms, insurance, retail, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, professional services, energy, utilities, public sector and outsourcing providers. This also includes commitments to support partner enablement, sales, pre-sales and implementation on a global scale.

Thoughtonomy has delivered year on year growth of over more than 250 per cent over the past three years and has customers spread across four continents. In 2018, the company was ranked fourth in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 and 11th in the Deloitte 2018 UK Technology Fast 50, cementing its position as one of the fastest growing UK-headquartered technology companies and one of the brightest stars in global AI.

Silverpeak worked with Thoughtonomy as lead adviser examining both private equity investment and strategic acquirers globally culminating in the agreed acquisition of Thoughtonomy by Blue Prism.

Paddy MccGwire, the Managing Partner at Silverpeak leading the process added, “Terry and the team at Thoughtonomy have developed a great business in the six years since founding, developing the market leading intelligent automation SaaS RPA platform. Blue Prism will provide a great strategic and cultural fit to continue to exploit the market opportunity.”

 

For more information please contact Paddy MccGwire: pm@silverpeakib.com

Other advisers to Thoughtonomy were: Taylor Wessing, lawyers; Smith & Williamson, tax.

Silverpeak sponsors the ‘Oscars of the Technology Industry’ hosted by The Information Technologists

Silverpeak is delighted to be sponsoring once again the Enterprise Awards which are the ‘Oscars of the Technology Industry’ hosted by The Information Technologists, the City of London’s 100th Livery company formed to contribute to the growth and development of the ICT industry. The spirit of the awards is all about recognising and celebrating the very best of the UK’s technology entrepreneurial talent.

Uniquely focused on the founder rather than the businesses themselves, the Enterprise Awards boasts previous winners that have achieved prominence on both private and public markets.

Paddy MccGwire, Silverpeak Managing Partner, sits on the judging panel who look for examples of vision, growth, innovation, funding, use of capital, use of resources, strategy, execution, ambition and determination to succeed.

The Award Categories include:

Young Entrepreneur – for entrepreneurs under 30
Start-Up Entrepreneur – trading for two years or less
Emerging Entrepreneur – up to £3 million annual revenue
Developing Entrepreneur – annual revenue between £3 and £10 million
Scaling Up Award – fastest growing companies
Public Sector Award – excellence and achievement in the Public Sector
Enterprise Entrepreneur – annual revenue over £10 million
Social Enterprise Entrepreneur – entrepreneurs with a business model that gives something back
Female Entrepreneur – for outstanding female entrepreneurs
Listed Company Entrepreneur – for entrepreneurs leading a Listed Company
Deep Tech Entrepreneur – game-changing, innovative, unique, core technology

For details of how to enter and to download an entry form, please go to www.enterprise-awards.co.uk.

The closing date for entries is Tuesday 30 April 2019

B2B Software Leadership Dinner: Software leaders call for greater alignment as sector grows

There is significant capital for growth-stage business-to-business (B2B) SaaS and software companies, but early-stage fundraising is more challenging; subscription is the preferred revenue model, but perpetual licenses are still used in certain settings; “SaaS businesses” can differ in revenue models, delivery models, payment terms depending on their geographical and vertical reference market.

These were the conclusions drawn from the latest B2B Software Leadership Dinner in London.

The dinner took place on Wednesday 6 February and featured 20 senior executive and board members from the software and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) sector. It was hosted by Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, Spectrum, the retained executive search and HR consulting firm for the technology sector, and technology law firm Wiggin.

“It was a wonderful dinner with the participation of 20 great executives & directors,” said Pietro Strada, Managing Partner at Silverpeak. “I think it demonstrates the quality and maturity of the software and SaaS sectors in Europe: it is clearly a very healthy and strong market.”

While the evening took place under Chatham House rules, some key points of discussion have been released.

Attendees agreed that while there is significant capital available for growth-stage B2B software companies, it was generally considered to be more difficult to secure early stage fundraising.

Furthermore, there are some major national and sectoral differences with regards to the adoption of SaaS vs. perpetual licenses, and in some cases, SaaS can represent different things to different people.

For some, it is closely affiliated with a company’s revenue model (subscription) or payment terms (annually/quarterly/monthly in advance), while for others it is about delivery (multi-tenant single-instance) and cloud hosting. For companies in certain sectors, e.g. financial services, SaaS may raise concerns about data capture and storage costs connected with these software services.

Given these various points of differentiation, the business leaders present at the dinner agreed that more needs to be done to communicate the characteristics and benefits of SaaS.

Ultimately the key success metric for B2B SaaS companies is customer adoption and utilisation, which requires the key implementation departments in the company to be aligned. It also requires SaaS providers to follow good business disciplines, such as understanding their clients’ needs and having a product that addresses them.

The group also agreed that whilst there are some common key performance indicators (KPIs) of SaaS companies, such as LTV or CAC or churn, the way in which they are calculated can vary. Senior managers should able to calculate them and present them into the context of their own businesses.

Silverpeak director David Bell revealed that some lively discussions took place among attendees, which is further evidence of the dynamic nature of the sector.

“We had a wide ranging-discussion, touching on the commercial, operational and financial insights of and challenges for B2B software businesses in diverse verticals and differing stages of maturity,” said Bell. “And somewhat surprisingly there were even some impromptu contractual negotiations taking place in the room.”

Silverpeak instrumental in sale of Dictate IT to Clanwilliam Group

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Dictate IT, a leading provider of digital dictation, outsourced transcription, and speech recognition services to 27 healthcare providers in the UK and Ireland, on its sale to Clanwilliam Group, the global healthcare technology provider.

The acquisition brings Dictate IT under the umbrella of the rapidly expanding health investor, Clanwilliam Group, as part of the mergers and acquisitions strategy that it launched in 2014. As a result, Dictate IT will be able to expand its reach, make further investments in its solution and realise all the benefits of partnering with other companies in the Group to strengthen its market position.

Silverpeak played a significant role in the sale, working with Dictate IT as financial advisor running an M&A process: from the preparation phase, identifying and contacting a global array of knowledgeable counterparties, negotiating the deal terms with multiple parties, and managing through to completion.

Commenting on the deal, Paddy MccGwire, Managing Partner at Silverpeak, said: “This is another successful health-tech company sale to a strategic acquirer having followed a twin track private equity and strategic process. I have been impressed watching Dictate IT’s Managing Director, Mark Miller develop the business over the last 14 years. This has included developing its proprietary medical speech recognition engine built on a state of the art DNN (Deep Neural Net) acoustic model and using cutting edge RNN (Recurrent Neural Net) language rescoring – the solution outperforms all other solutions currently available and has achieved the market leading position. The sale to Clanwilliam Group provides the opportunity for Dictate IT to accelerate its growth trajectory in an entrepreneurial culture. The simultaneous sale of its Indian associate company added complexity to this multi-jurisdiction transaction. “

Mark Miller, Managing Director at Dictate IT, said: “I would recommend Silverpeak without hesitation. A sale of a company is, for most, the culmination of many years of work and the outcome of the sale will likely define much of the hope and aspiration for the years ahead. It is important to get it right and to choose people who are totally committed to the best outcome. The Silverpeak team work extremely hard, are capable and knowledgeable and involve themselves in every aspect of the transaction. They maintain a steady focus on the outcome and a good humour which is important when dealing with things over which so much importance is attached.”

Silverpeak facilitates €10m funding round for industrial internet cybersecurity pioneer, Sentryo

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, has been instrumental in securing €10M in Series A Financing for the cutting-edge Industrial Internet cybersecurity firm, Sentryo. The funding, which completed in November this year, reflects the growing significance of Sentryo’s distributed technology architecture against the backdrop of increased industrial cybersecurity attacks.

Advice on the valuation of the company and the size of the round was provided by Silverpeak to the Sentryo Board. Silverpeak’s team of finance experts also delivered strategic guidance prior to approaching the market for investors in Europe and the United States. In order for Sentryo to move forward with its expansion activities in the US from Q2 2018, Silverpeak recommended a two-phase approach for the funding. The first phase with Sopra Steria and BNP Paribas Développement completed in April, and the second tranche with Omnes and Alliance Entreprendre which has just been finalised.

Thierry Rouquet, CEO at Sentryo, said: “It was a pleasure to work with the Silverpeak team across their London and Paris offices. Silverpeak worked tirelessly to close the round and came up with an innovative two step closing which allowed Sentryo to meet its goal by bringing together both financial and strategic investors. We look forward to driving the business forward, including its expansion in the US which the financing in place now allows.”

Sentryo specialises in solutions that protect operational technology from the threat of cyber-attack. The company’s ICS CyberVision platform gives control engineers comprehensive visibility on their systems, detects anomalies and accelerates response to cybersecurity incidents to minimise the impact. The funding will be used to accelerate not only expansion in the US, but across Europe too.

Jean-Michel Deligny, a Senior Advisor at Silverpeak, said: “Industrial cybersecurity is a strategic topic but still an emerging market. Sentryo shows technical excellence as well as a focused indirect selling strategy and is expanding to the US, based on key partnerships with the likes of Cisco and Siemens. This makes Sentryo one the most capital innovative and efficient companies in the business and this is why Silverpeak took on the assignment. As always, Silverpeak showed the sort of tenacity which is needed for a successful financing.”

Alex de Gandt, Director at Silverpeak said: “We explored various financing options, and contacted investors globally, both strategic and financial. In the end, the round brings the best of French investors, to support an ambitious plan to expand in Sentryo’s core European markets, as well as grow in the US. We look forward to continue working with Sentryo as the company accelerates internationally.”

Silverpeak advises EFFECT Photonics on its Series B funding

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to EFFECT Photonics B.V., a leading developer of high performance DWDM optical components based on its optical System-on-Chip, on its Series B funding round led by Innovation Industries.

The funding round accelerates the ramp of its tunable SFP production line and the development of future technologies. EFFECT addresses the need for low-cost, wavelength-tunable optical transceivers with industrial temperature specification to be deployed within the next generation 5G mobile infrastructure, as well as in other networking applications. The global market demand for optical transceivers is expected to grow to $12bn by 2023, from $6bn in 2017 (Lightcounting, 2018).

Silverpeak worked with the company as financial advisor supporting it during the entire process: from the preparation phase, to identifying and contacting a global array of knowledgeable investors, to negotiating the deal terms, through to completion.

James Regan, CEO of EFFECT Photonics, said: “Silverpeak’s deep understanding of optical technologies combined with their relationships in the global investor landscape proved invaluable. They showed total dedication throughout the process and their expertise and advice were instrumental in closing this round of financing for our growth phase.”

Pietro Strada, Managing Partner at Silverpeak and leading the mandate, added: “We are proud to have worked with James and the whole EFFECT Photonics management team and Supervisory Board at this pivotal stage in the company’s trajectory. EFFECT Photonics is at the global forefront of ultra-fast optical integrated circuits and are well placed to take advantage of the huge opportunities in their space.”

Nard Sintenie, General Partner at Innovation Industries, said: “We are delighted to have invested in EFFECT Photonics. We believe that the company and the deal process benefitted from Silverpeak’s assistance and enjoyed working with them.”

Silverpeak advises smart ticketing technology provider Ticketer on investment by Tenzing

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Ticketer, the UK’s leading provider of bus ticketing technology, on its investment by Tenzing Private Equity

Since entering the market in 2010, Ticketer has grown to become the UK market leader at the forefront of smart electronic ticketing technology across the bus sector. Ticketer’s software enables passengers to use the latest payments technologies, whilst providing bus operators with real-time performance insights to improve efficiency, service levels and profitability.

Widely renowned as the most innovative provider in the industry, Ticketer’s clients include some of the largest national operators, including First Bus, Arriva, and Go-Ahead, and some 70% of the UK’s regional operators. The company has achieved outstanding revenue growth of over 50% year-on-year over the last three years.

Tenzing has backed the senior management team, led by John Clarfelt and Gordon Montgomery. Together with its Entrepreneurs Panel, Tenzing will support the team’s ambition to grow the business in the UK and internationally.

Silverpeak worked with the company as lead advisor to map the marketplace, identify and contact potential investors and negotiate a transaction through to final completion.

Gordon Montgomery, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Ticketer, said: “Silverpeak were incredibly professional and supportive throughout. They went above and beyond in helping to get the deal over the line.”

David Ford, Director at Silverpeak, said “With the current growth in Smart Transit and Mobility-as-a-Service, Ticketer has many opportunities to help its clients produce better transport experiences. Working with the great team at Tenzing will help them achieve that much faster.”

Pietro Strada, Managing Partner at Silverpeak added, “We are very proud to have worked on this transaction with John, Gordon and the whole Ticketer team.”

This is the fourth transaction for Silverpeak in the mobility sector following the fundraising announced last month for Oxbotica, the autonomous vehicle software company.